Well 2020 ended and man I’m glad to get afresh start with anew year. 2020 had surprises like no one could imagine and it has been a challenge to be a full-time fishing guide in Tampa Bay. But I am hopeful for a better 2021 and things will soon get better. Fishing wise 2020 was a good one and it ended on a good note with plenty for Snook, Reds and Trout mixed with a bunch of other species mixed in. Here is a look at what to expect for January of 2021
As water cools fish will eventually make their way up the rivers and creeks. Snook fishing looks to be very productive going into one of the colder months of the year. As long as the white bait stays in the bay the Snook fishing will continue to be productive. Look to fish creeks and residential canals as these areas that provide warmer water and we all know Snook like warmer water this time of year. Free lined bait is a great option; 30lb Fluorocarbon leader matched with Daiichi 1/0 circle hook will ensure for a safe release. Remember Snook are catch and release.
Bait will move around the deepest areas of the bay and eventually make its way to the mouth by the Skyway. Catching bait is a chore and can provide more challenges as it shifts to the markers. Having a good sonar is a plus so you can see it on the bottom. Bait tends to gather on the bottom as water is warmer. I also like to use side sonar or as Lowrance calls it Structure Scan. This actually shoots a signal to either side of the boat so you can see if the bait is actually inside the towers. Lowrance HDS makes great detail sonar that makes the job a little easier. Bring some chum to bring the bait to the surface and the heaviest 12 foot net you can find and you will be ready to catch bait.
If going through all that effort is not your thing, shrimp is another option that can be very productive during the winter months. You will catch a variety of species on shrimp and you don’t have to worry about throwing the net. Redfish love shrimp and makes for a slow presentation which is needed on the colder days. Soaking a select sized shrimp on the bottom will be a very productive way to catch a ton of Reds this time of year.
Trout fishing has to be a top producer as well. Trout from all sizes flood the flats and seem to LOVE artificial bait. You will have a ball catching numbers and size. Zman paddlerz and minnoz soft [plastics are some of the top producers. Remember that Trout are very slimy for a reason because the slime coat protects them. It’s always a good idea to have a De hooker handy on the boat to release fish safely and to keep the kill rate down so we have fish for years to come. Tight lines!
We are coming to an end for the summer of 2020. While this year has been full of surprises in the fishing world from Covid 19, we have stayed busy late summer and our fishing charters have been successful. Snook, Redfish, Grouper, Cobia, Tarpon, Trout and many others have been boat side this summer. Here is your Tampa fishing report for September.
Redfish are the highlight this month as big schools of breeder fish gather up in the Gulf of Mexico and Tampa Bay. Redfish have been very plentiful this year with fish schooling up in good numbers especially around the new and full moons. I really like fishing the lower tides and finding fish on the outer flats roaming around eating anything in front of them. Both live and artificial baits are good options. I like throwing something with good weight to add to the distance on your cast. One of my favorite baits when fishing in Tampa bay is the z man chatter bait. The chatter bait works well when targeting big schools of Reds. It has plenty of weight, has flash and makes noise. This checks off all the boxes when looking for a bait to fish schools of Redfish in Tampa Bay.
Snook this time of year on the Tampa Bay flats. It’s not uncommon to catch 30 Snook on a fishing charter as we approach fall fishing in Tampa Bay. Snook are some of our top sought after species for the month of September. Its just another species we target and make September fishing in Tampa so good.
Grouper and Snapper
Next on the list for the Tampa fishing report in September would have to be Mangrove Snapper and Gag Grouper. Both fish are considered nearshore or offshore fish but with the great Tampa fishing we have the pleasure of catching both species right inside the bay. This happens just a few minutes from the dock. Both Grouper and Snapper are plentiful and make for a great table fair. Sizes on Grouper for Tampa Bay are seasonal and have a minimum size of 24 inches and a bag limit of 2. For more information of the Grouper regulations https://myfwc.com/fishing/saltwater/recreational/groupers/
Snapper have a different size with a minimum size of 10 inches and 5 per person. They are also open year-round.
Looking forward to fishing with you!
Five of my favorite artificial baits when fishing Tampa Bay
Here in Tampa Bay we like using live bait. This happens on our Tampa fishing charters during most of the year. We have millions or bait schools throughout Tampa Bay during the summer months. This makes for an easy fishing trip when the bait bats start slinging baits. But during the winter months in Tampa Bay bait can be a real pain. Here are five of my favorite artificial baits when fishing Tampa Bay.
This is a good time to get out the artificial baits out and head to the boat ramp. Here are a few top baits I love to throw when fishing in Tampa Bay or Redfish tournaments throughout Florida. .
Five of my favorite artificial baits when fishing Tampa Bay
I love to throw artificials during the winter and one of my go to types of baits would have to be soft plastic baits. Match these with an ⅛ to ¼ once weighted hook and you will have one of the best artificial baits when fishing Tampa,Fl. Soft plastics come in a ton of different sizes,shapes and colors and all produce awesome fish when put in the right situation. The key is knowing when to use what color.
Favorite types of bait to use in Tampa,Florida
My go to bait of all time has to be a pearl white Zman minnowZ. This has produced hundreds of Trout boatside for me and is a great go to bait. It’s simple and very productive. Another great one that I have discovered while fishing in Redfish tournaments throughout Florida would have to be the Zman Paddlerz Houdini. This has a natural shrimp look to it with a sparkle to catch the attention of fish. I’ve caught some trophy Redfish while using this bait and it is a go to bait for me.
More types of my favorite artificial baits to use in Tampa Bay
Another great combination is a mix of two different companies is a go to when fishing dirty water just about anywhere. I love to tie on a Cajon Thunder Back Bay float and match this with about 3 foot of leader and a ¼ once jig head with whatever color produces in that area. This is a great producer in all parts of Florida and Louisiana for Trout and Redfish. I always go to the combination when fishing very dirty water. The popping noise from the float is something they can’t refuse.
The ole Gold Spoon is a great option no matter where you are fishing at. It’s been a staple for years and yet it’s still a top producer for Snook,Redfish,Trout, and Flounder. I like to throw a Gold spoon when I’m covering a lot of area during a tournament.
How to book an artificial fishing charter
As you read this I hope I was able to give some insight to some great baits to start with when fishing with artificials in Tampa Bay or anywhere else for that matter. Hopefully this will be useful for beginners and give you a good start to putting some fish boatside when getting started throwing artificial baits onm Tampa Bay. If you are interested in throwing some artificial baits or just getting out for a live bait trip give us a try. Here is another article to check out if you like this Article written.